Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dick Heckstall-Smith "A Story Ended" (UK Jazzy Prog 1972)

Dick Heckstall-Smith (September 16, 1934December 17, 2004) was an English jazz and blues saxophonist.
He played with the most important English blues-rock and jazz-rock bands of the 1960s and 1970s.
Heckstall-Smith was born Richard Malden Heckstall-Smith in Ludlow, England (his father then being headmaster of the local Grammar School), and brought up in Knighton, Wales. He learned to play piano, clarinet and alto saxophone in childhood.
After refusing a second term at a York boarding school, he went to Gordonstoun, where his schoolmaster father, Hugh, had taken a job. Hugh soon fell out with the autocratic Kurt Hahn and the family retreated to Dartington.
Heckstall-Smith completed his education at the Foxhole school before reading agriculture – and co-leading the university jazz band – at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, from 1953. Aged 15, he had taken up the soprano sax while at Foxhole, captivated by the sound of Sidney Bechet. Then the smokiness of Lester Young's sound caught him, and the music of tenor saxist Wardell Gray, a major early bebop musician.
Heckstall-Smith was an active member of the London jazz scene from the late 1950s. He joined Blues Incorporated, Alexis Korner's groundbreaking blues group, in 1962. The following year, he was a founding member of that band's breakaway unit, the Graham Bond Organisation; the lineup also included two future members of the blues-rock supergroup Cream: bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker.
In 1967, Heckstall-Smith became a member of keyboardist-vocalist John Mayall's prominent group the Bluesbreakers. That jazz-skewed edition of the band, which also included drummer Jon Hiseman and future Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, released the album Bare Wires in 1968.
From 1968 to 1970, Heckstall-Smith and Hiseman were the key creative members of the pioneering UK jazz-rock band Colosseum. The act was a showcase for the saxophonist's writing and his instrumental virtuosity; like American saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, he could blow two saxophones simultaneously.

Following a sold-out concert in London's Royal Albert Hall, Colosseum disbanded, and after some sessions work (e.g.Neil Ardley's 4th solo album "Symphony Of Amraranths") Dick Heckstall-Smith assembled his solo album "A Story Ended", from unrecorded Colosseum material like the truly sophisticated "The Pirate's Dream", an ambitious piece which took months to compose (at least), and new titles with lyricist Pete Brown. Apart from Clem, the whole (ex-)band turned up, while Hiseman produced. The spring '72 sessions also featured Caleb Quaye (g, ex-Elton John Band), Paul Williams, Drummer Rob Tait. Session cat Chris Spedding as well as a surprisingly agile Graham Bond, who sadly was to take hiown life a year later.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for this!
My old LP was extremely bad and I really love DHS

Marcello from Italy

09 November, 2006 00:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again a great share!!!!
Thank you very much!


09 November, 2006 05:45  
Anonymous zubbid said...

Thanks. There was a record store in Philadelphia which, in the mid 90's had some twenty still-sealed copies of this LP, for something like $3.00 each. On several occasions I nearly picked one up, knowing D H-S's playing from his various other ventures. I never did though, and the store dissapeared, and I've been looking to hear this ever since I allowed my last easy chance to evaporate. I'm very excited to have crossed paths with it again. Thanks.

09 November, 2006 08:28  
Blogger Captain Beyond said...

I've been looking for this for quite a while. Many thanks!!
By the way, do you have any Chris Spedding?

Cpt Beyond

11 November, 2006 12:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to let you know that this album was reissued on CD just before Dick died and is available, along with live cuts from teh road band Dick put together in the wake of this album as well as two tracks from the unreleased follow-up

04 February, 2007 12:34  
Blogger joesh said...

Any chance of a re-post one of these days/years?

16 June, 2010 02:15  

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